Financial retirement education (on YT or elsewhere)?

As one would expect, YouTube is full of lots of financial advice for people who are planning for retirement.

I have never found anyone worth watching out of dozens of YouTube commentators I’ve watched in the past.

But I just came across a chap called James Shack, who seems to have some informative videos about how stocks and bonds can work to provide a tax efficient income in retirement.

Has anyone heard of him?

Has anyone found anyone else who gives good background education on this issue on any platform?

Clearly, one should employ one’s own independent financial advisor rather than rely on generic educational theory, or specific advice on public platforms.

But that doesn’t mean that there’s no place for getting information about ‘how retirement and tax can work’ from the Internet as well.

A related question is, how does one find a good IFA?


@Jamiewednesday may have some sage advice for you

If you look on the FCA’s website there is a list of registered IFAs. And local 'web enquiries should also yield fruit – of course, personal recommendations are usually the best route.

And there will be differences in viewpoints, even if your risk approach and scores are the same e.g. some will favour certain providers, much like the hi-fi game!

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If you’re looking for an IFA, I can thoroughly recommend Alan Steel Asset Management, based in Linlithgow, about 20 miles outside Edinburgh (01506 842365).

Although they’re based in Scotland, they have many clients south of Berwick! They have a very informative website.

My consultant is called Gregor Anderson.

Do feel free to mention my name - Graham Livingston.

Don’t know, as I have not got one. I invest via Hargreaves Lansdown & make my own decisions.

I suggest you start with free, government backed support from Pensionwise.

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How long have you been doing that?

Do you have a strategy or approach to making investments that you can discuss here?

That’s very good Ian. Most people don’t nave the discipline or emotional control to do their own investing. Y’know, like, buy when others are selling, and sell when ithers are buying, and don’t get bothered or angry at a loss. Sell it, take your lumps, and buy a better performer.
Anyway, it’s impressive that you are capable, most aren’t.
Do you usually beat the market on an average annual return? (LSE, S&P 500). Please just ignore if this is too personal/private a question.
Best of luck.



I do my own investing within the walled garden of the UK universities (USS) pension scheme.

The user gets to choose between about 15 named funds, split into various categories, inc. bonds, so called Lifestyle and Growth funds (which grow quite slowly), and regional Equity funds (which mostly grow more quickly but are more volatile).

The best performing fund is the “Sharia Fund” (SF).

Surprisingly, this is nowhere near the most popular fund - in fact it is one of the smallest ones in terms of capital.

It is benchmarked on the Dow Jones Islamic Titans Index (ITI).

The performance of the SF is the same each year as the public ITI within 0.1%.

I’ve briefly researched what the ITI consists of, and it includes currently about 75% US stocks and about 46% tech stocks, as far as I can see.

Other countries stocks represented in the ITI are from the world’s major ‘developed economy’ nations (interestingly, none of them that I noticed appear to be countries based upon sharia law).

The top 10 companies in the ITI are standard US blue chip stocks like Microsoft etc.

The ITI has grown over 300% during the last decade from what I can see, and most years grows by about 10%.

Given that higher rate taxpayers who are in USS can effectively invest in this with a 40% discount as part of their USS pension, it seems amazing to me that it is one of the smallest funds in the USS.

This seems to me to only be explicable, because probably most people don’t read up on what the fund actually contains, and somehow fail to understand what’s actually in it.

But I do sometimes wonder whether I’ve missed something about this ‘Sharia Fund’ as it seems to be too good to be true.

I would like to get better information on what the ITI fund actually contains and how it is managed.

I’d also like to know for sure whether the SF contains exact same proportion of stocks as the ITI, although it will probably never be possible for me to find this out.

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Do you do your own investing, David?

One of the roles of an IFA is to assess what your ‘underlying exposure’ is to market. The Sharia Fund isn’t that much different to other ‘defined’ funds, and the Sharia tag & qualifications lead much of the investment base as being the tech market, where debt levels are low, interest income low/modest (question over Apple and cash interest?) and, of course, the activities are ‘non-controversial’ (to use a term).

And beware, as the index has only risen ~10% post the market reverse in Dec 2021.

The problem with all the chat around ‘index beating’ and higher growth (as has been seen with US tech), is that historically these strong sector gains can be volatile and undergo significant unwinds, ergo 46% weighting in a fund is high IMHO. There’s also a great deal of herd mentality in markets.

Diversification is key in all these things, even if you see lower growth, as protection of capital elevates in importance in a retirement environment.


Thanks HL.

Yes, it’s clearly a (US) IT-led fund, but it has a wide base in the other main industrial sectors in just over half of its stocks.

My main pension in the USS is DB, and I have a DB pension that I’m already claiming from a former employer, so my DC pot in the USS is a small proportion of my total assets.

If I could tinker with my main USS DB pension I could get myself into all sorts of trouble (or make it grow much faster)!

So at the moment my DC pot is not big enough to cause me substantial trouble even if it tanks.

IT stocks have taken a leading position in the global economy, and who can see a time when they will no longer serve that type of function (while pensions remain in something like their current form)?

how does one find a good IFA?

I found mine via recommendation from someone I knew well.

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@JimDog - With HL…? Quite a few years. The earliest date I can easily ‘see’ is in 2016. It was earlier than that though, but those investments have long been sold (there were Shares).

My ‘strategy’ is now to invest only in Funds - and only those in HL’s Wealth Shortlist. If a Fund I hold does well, I may buy more - if it does badly, I may sell some. My S&S ISA has 5 different funds in it currently.

@david1111 - See above for my ‘method’. Not very difficult or that clever really. Don’t know if I beat any Index - not a comparison that I do. I just monitor each of my funds (5 - see above) - and the total worth, historically. My ‘best’ 2 funds show a growth since I bought into them of about 33% and 18%.

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Yes, an old friend of mine, who I’ve known for 45 years who worked for several merchant banks, and then started a company in recruitment of financial professionals, is someone I talk to about finance matters occasionally, and he has recommended IFAs to me once in the past.

But in the end, I did not have cause to employ one at that time.

Although now I am closer to retirement (60 in 3 weeks time) it’s probably something I should do now.

I think your post exemplifies how a decent IFA can help, not only in terms of rationalising with you what exposures your are running, but also helping you understand what the options are, and what your tolerance to risk actually is – which allows people to sleep at night :grin: …all this informed by a person’s wider financial picture and tax exposure profile.

I use an IFA to check my understandings and make sure I don’t ‘drop the ball’ – to be honest, it’s not complicated (IMHO), the bigger issue is staying on top of things, especially given the increasingly unfriendly tax environment vis frozen allowances and reducing allowances CGT, interest and DVs.

Plus, another benefit of IFAs, is that they can offer access to personal investments on ‘platforms’ which are far cheaper fees wise than you can get via going direct to an investment house. It’s not always the case, there are pro’s and con’s, like all things out there.

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Is that Happy Listener’s Wealth Shortlist, or Hargreaves Lansdown’s? :grinning:


Not mine…my (little) money stayed well away from Woodford :grin:

The smart money left him well before, yet HL still advertised the fund !!

How about the other three? :nerd_face:

The investment company, based in Bristol… :crazy_face:

@HappyListener - Is correct about Woodford - a particular fund which had problems.

I also have a fund with a bit of ‘history’. It a Lidsell Train fund, which HL delisted from their list - because they found the fund was actually invested in HL itself - to a % that was of concern. The fund is fine - and I am still ‘in’ it (albeit to a lesser degree) - but HL did the right thing.

I also look at any funds that HL recommend, which they do several times per year. I am trying to widen/spread my investments further. Currently I am spread over 5 funds. Next move would be to 6 funds.